PARIS — French luxury brands are making ski capsules snow ahead of the opening of the winter season, blending their aesthetic flair and heritage designs with the technical demands of cold-weather dressing.
Balenciaga hits the slopes for the first time with a range that goes from technical ready-to-wear and accessories to equipment and gear for practicing skiing and snowboarding.
The lineup includes snow-worthy takes on the house’s hourglass and extra-easy puffer silhouettes, revisited in technical ripstop material, all with winter sports-appropriate details such as integrated snow skirts, ventilation systems and ski-pass holders. There also are waterproof fleece-lined jeans in stretch denim that could work on the trails as well as back in town.
Thermal layering options include hoodies, fluffy knits, fisherman-style wools and even a faux fur, while footwear includes the Alaska boot and a revisited 3XL Ski Sneaker that comes with a water-resistant interior film and removable spiked crampons.
Gear-wise, in addition to snowboards and skis available in two sizes, there are also retractable hiking ski poles and a helmet designed with protection specialist Briko.
Chanel, on the other hand, went for the lithe silhouettes of figure skaters for this winter’s Coco Neige lineup imagined by artistic director Virginie Viard and foreshadowed by the recently released campaign featuring house ambassador Lily-Rose Depp.
In the mix is a jumpsuit in navy blue technical satin finished with jewelry buttons; a form-fitting jumpsuit in black and silver wool; plenty of reversible shearling and leather jackets, as well as lightweight sweaters, jackets and trousers made for layering.
Plenty of ski-savvy details have been included in the pieces, from a pocket inserted into a sleeve for ski passes to zips at the ankle to account for the appropriate footwear.
But there’s even more for après-ski moments.
Loungewear and denim made their debut this year, with reinterpretations of the house’s diamond quilting appearing as braided designs on cashmere pieces, and jeans with its double-C signature lasered onto their surface or dressed up in leather-laced chains.
Louis Vuitton worked its LV Ski line — identified by its LV Flocon logo combining the monogram flower and a snowflake — as a combined women’s and men’s collection focusing on slimline sporty layers and ski suits meant to be paired with voluminous parkas and down-filled jackets.
Options include a puffer with the monogram shape blown up to abstract proportions; knitted ribbed jumpsuits; a full-on monogram jumpsuit in blue with a red and white detailing; a black and white technical puffer, and plenty of chunky knits with a lightly retro feel.
Accessories too are dressed to impress on the slopes, from shearling embellished Capucines purses and its Keepall duffel bag revamped with technical zips to resist the elements to an alpine boot with a side pocket and a design nodding to the LV Trainer’s sole. There also are monogram helmets and ski masks for those looking to carve the slopes in style.
New this season are a snowboard dressed in a gray glacier pattern and three sizes of skis handmade in France. Dressed in the house monogram design, these are finished with a striking red underside.
On-site performance is also the track taken by Balmain this season.
Founder Pierre Balmain, who hailed from France’s mountainous Savoy region, developed a lifelong love for mountain sports from his mother and often referenced this in his subsequent fashion collections. He even designed the uniforms for Olympic staff when France hosted the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble.
As a nod to this, the house teamed with Italian luxury ski equipment manufacturer Bomber for a limited-edition pair of alpine skis. Available in three sizes and with a full wood-core construction, they dressed in the Balmain mini-monogram pattern first presented by Pierre Balmain in the 1980s — matching the designs of this year’s winter capsule.